International Women's Day: The significance of the colour Purple
International Women's Day: The significance of the colour Purple

 Founded more than a century ago, International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world on March 8 every year commemorating the movement for women’s rights.

The day was founded after some 15,000 women marched in New York City to demand better working conditions and voting rights. 

At present, the day is intended to celebrate women’s economic, social and political achievements along with a call for gender equality.

While different nations celebrate the day in a variety of ways - be it cultural outings or marches, a wardrobe choice has not been fixed for it. However, according to the official International Women’s Day website, Purple is chosen as the official colour as it symbolizes women. Also, purple signifies justice and dignity.

Explaining the prominence of purple being the shade of choice for International Women’s Day, the website shares,

Internationally, purple is a colour for symbolizing women. Historically, the combination of purple, green and white to symbolize women’s equality originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the U.K. in 1908. Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity but is no longer used due to ‘purity’ being a controversial concept. The introduction of the colour yellow representing a ‘new dawn’ is commonly used to signify the second wave of feminism. Thus purple with green represents traditional feminism, purple with yellow represents progressive contemporary feminism.

Colours have become a symbol of protest in the recent times. Women wore white on Election Day 2016 where Hillary Clinton ran as the first female candidate from a major political party.

The #MeToo movement had women heavily rely on black as a statement against the abusive behaviour of men. In January, the women working in the film industry flooded the red carpet with black ensembles at the Emmy Awards as a sign of protest against Hollywood’s institutionalized sexism.

Democratic women in Congress too followed cue and donned black in late January for US President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech in protest of sexual harassment.

Even the Time’s Up campaign had Hollywood show solidarity by wearing black to this year’s Golden Globe ceremony while white roses were donned at Grammy Awards making a strong statement.

Complementing the International Women’s Day #PressforProgress campaign theme, a passionate purple hue is set to top colour palettes in 2018, highlighting feminism and international efforts to achieve gender parity.

Going by the history, the colour has been associated with efforts to achieve gender equality and is now widely associated with contemporary feminism as it symbolises achievements made so far and achievements yet to come.